Live Chat with Developers -- Quest Design

We’ve just concluded a live chat among several WoW Community Council members and our three Lead Quest Designers for Dragonflight. The discussion went for 90 minutes and ranged across many quest design topics such as the balance between campaign quests and local-story quests, and the ways that player feedback have impacted how designers approach creating and implementing quests.

Please feel free to continue the discussion here.

One of the Lead Quest Designers ended the live chat with questions:

If you’re the sort of WoW player who typically skips quest content altogether, especially at the beginning of a patch when that content is first released, why do you do that, and what do you imagine could be changed about the game that might result in you becoming more interested in / likely to play quest content?

If you’re a player who feels that you must reach max level as quickly as possible at the start of an expansion, can you explain why that’s the case?

Of course, we’ve heard some reasons:

  • To prepare for Raiding or Mythic+ dungeons on multiple characters.
  • To keep up with your friends who are leveling as fast as possible.

But you may have another answer.

We’ve also long tracked the debate among players about whether episodic or time-gated quest content is a good thing that helps address the issues above. If you have thoughts, please let us know where you come down on that subject.

Thanks for your feedback and discussion!


As someone who’s primary motivation to play WoW is raiding, I push to max level as fast as I can to get the ball rolling on end game content for my character. Later on, once the end of patch lull sets in and I level alts I focus a lot more on the questing stories and general world exploration.

The question I have still is related to alts proceeding through the quests.

In the context of going through questlines additional times (on alts), is there any consideration to making some quests less repetitive to speed up the process and not force players into doing quests they don’t enjoy that take a long time? For example, a quest that asks you to kill 30 enemies in a cave, on a repeat playthrough maybe that same quest only asks for 10 but awards the same experience, if not a little more to compensate for not killing 20 additional enemies.

This would make questing and levelling time faster without sacrificing any of the storytelling elements the quest team wants to share with the players.


I’d like to respond to that with a couple of thoughts I believe I heard from Quest Leads today:

  1. Players don’t need to play questlines on alts at all if they don’t want to. One of our goals with Adventure Mode in Dragonflight to give your alts as much freedom as possible.

  2. We put a lot of focus on making quests fun. “Kill 30 of something” is a quest type that, ideally, we’re implementing much less often, while we design more and more quests that we feel players might enjoy revisiting (or visiting for the first time on an alt if they didn’t do it at all when leveling their main).


I know that most of the game is shaped for the max level content. I know the faster I get to max level the faster I can start unlocking things behind timegating/get to the good stuff.


Can we make them even more fun and replace kill quests with PvP quest for Warmode?

I could careless about helping an NPC and more about running around killing players for quest progress.

Quests like Murloc Freedom come to mind from legion. Kill murlocs OR players for quest progress

Why not both? You may not like those kills quests, but some may not like those PVP quests.


Thats why we have warmode off

You have to be careful with the xp rewards otherwise it turns into a boosting service similar to the bloody coin shenanigans.


In my fairly casual AOTC/KSM guild, the reason people race to max level is that they don’t want to be left out. Once people hit max level, they start running dungeons–maybe heroics first, but at some point mythic 0’s. Mythic 0’s have a weekly loot lockout.

The first people to hit 60 will find each other and form a group to do mythic 0’s. More people will hit 60 and form more mythic 0 groups. What happens to the last people to hit 60? They have nobody to group with because everybody else has already run the dungeons and is loot locked. Our tanks are typically the most active players and will finish the dungeons long before our more casual players reach 60.

Sometimes people will be generous and help out by running dungeons they can’t get any loot from, but at the start of an expansion there is so much else to do–level alts, work on professions, work on renown–that it’s not really fair for us to expect that of them.

So the people who hit max level last end up having their first mythic 0 experience be in a pug. And that’s not nearly as fun as going into a new dungeon for the first time with your friends.

So even though we are pretty casual, most players race to 60 because they want to run the new dungeons with their friends before their friends get loot-locked.


For me as a a hardcore collector, I rush to level because most of the collecting I do is either locked or, or more easily doable at max level, and I want to start getting onto that collecting ASAP, because it’s the part of the game I’m more interested in.

Not to mention I will go through leveling as many times as I need alts at level cap to be able to speed up my collecting (I dealt with 4 60s for each Shadowlands Covenants back when we couldn’t easily swap covenants, had 11 50s at one point for Legion Order Hall mounts, etc), so leveling will eventually turn boring for me at some point because I will do it as many times as I feel like its necessary to supplement my current collecting needs (and let’s face it, there’s little variation for leveling once you get out of Chromie Time), so I want that portion done as quickly as I can.


I don’t know how I missed this live chat as questing is my thing. I am not a good community council member lol

Anyway, I saw several responses say this, but I will echo the thoughts. I am a player who loves questing and reads them all. I love the stories and taking my time. BUT I always rush my first max level because of the dungeons. I’m not a M+ player though. For me, if I do not get max level fast and run the dungeons with the other first-timers, then I get stuck later on either waiting for a LONG time or running them with people’s alts who just want to tear through them as fast as possible and everything is old to them. Cutscenes are escaped out and trash skips are expected. Its so frustrating to me. The longer time goes on, the worse normal dungeons get.

In my opinion, time gating content is NEVER a good thing. Never, for any reason, have I ever been “wow I’m glad this is time gated” :sweat_smile: I actually get upset at time gating as it seems to drag out the story unnecessarily. Slow drips of fun is not a way to play a game.


Typically I try to reach max level in a reasonable time so I can interact with my friends who like doing dungeons and raids, but mostly for my own playstyle its about making sure I can explore and have fun in the world without insta-dying to things. This seems to be taken care of with the more open level design of Dragonflight however! Huge win in my eyes.

It’s been discussed before amongst council members that content that isn’t geared towards endgame (which is typically a race to the top no matter what) is needed. Dragon Riding (and subsequently the racing, and the possibility of racing against players in tournaments) is an example of a really intrinsically rewarding system that could be fun at any level in the Dragon Isles. From my understanding, fully progressed Dragon Riding will be available to alts from the start if your main has unlocked it, right?
What can be done to implement more content like that? Is there room for discussions about broadening the scope of Dragon Riding to the greater world? (A massive undertaking, I know).

My vote for content? Bring back islands in some form, remove the progression component, come up with seasonal challenges and affixes for PVP and AI PVE!
Cosmetics rewards (+flavor questlines!!!) are always going to be fun rewards that can be given from any level (especially cosmetics like old unused variants as we’ve been seeing in recent Timewalking IIRC).


Something that was brought up was the IDEA of working towards an AI dungeons system like the finale of Exile’s Reach. Obviously that wasn’t a concrete plan (and was brought up by a council member) but might that be a solution to the uhhh grind-mindset that players tend to have in dungeons later in the expac?


I just wanna rush to max level to do all the new stuff. Leveling for me is a duty that has to be done… I don’t enjoy it that much, no matter which type of quests there are. Especially because you do it over and over and over in the course of an expansion. I would really love a leveling skip after a certain amount of characters… Maybe all 10 characters you get one free 10lvl boost or something.

In SL for example you had to to the covenant camapaigns at start, there was no skip even for alts if you played the covenant more then once. You can stil not buy quartermaster stuff if you didn’t do those quest chains. this repeating of the same thing again and again is boring and stressful, only to play an alt for a few hours a week to have some variety.

What could you do to get people like quest more? Give better or other rewards. Lets say there is a quest that gives a toy or a pet… If u do it multiple times you get actually nothing for that quest, because you can only collect toys once and pets maximum 3 of one kind. Imagine you could get a random other toy you don’t have or pet instead? Or maybe a piece of transmog you miss. That would atleast bring me to skip less and do more quests.


I am the opposite - I take my time to do every quest the first time, read everything possible, etc. However, this leads into the second part of this question you posed:

On any subsequent toon, be it #2 or #30. I will rush as fast as humanly possible. Because I don’t want to do the same content over and over just for leveling. It’s different at max level. But leveling is just… an in between.

There is literally nothing you can do to make me want to revisit the quests. Because everything we do while leveling up gets replaced at max level. So unless you started adding rewards for questing that last even at max level, which would be silly, there’s no reason I’d want to do them again.

I assume this is a big part of why most people just dungeon to max level. Because if we’re just going to replace everything anyway - we might as well go the fastest way we know and get some gear that might last a little longer than quest gear.

Right now, I’m worried I have to rush. Why? Because in Dragonflight Renown and Reputation have timegates. Not like, hard timegates, but based on weekly quests.

You are launching Dragonflight on a Monday. The weekly reset is a Tuesday. That means unless you disable weekly quests until the first weekly reset, we will effectively “fall behind” anyone who did rush forward. I haven’t heard one way or another if you will block weekly quests until the first reset (I believe you did for Shadowlands, but my memory is hazy), but I’m hoping you will so we won’t feel pressured to rush to not fall behind.

I understand Renown/Rep isn’t required and is seen as an optional part of the game, but for some people, that’s a big part of the game, and to fall behind because they want to experience the story would suck.

I have not tried Adventure Mode, but I know the same thing was promised with Threads of Fate, and all Threads of Fate ended up doing was having us do the same exact world quests over and over. Which wasn’t much different than doing the same campaign quests over and over.

This doubly worries me because Threads of Fate was also said to be inspired by Diablo’s Adventure Mode when you first announced it.

I haven’t seen a wowhead article about Adventure Mode either, so if it’s implemented, I wouldn’t know. I was happy to test in alpha, but I need a break or I will burn myself out on Dragonflight content and that would be silly before it even launches.

Time-Gated content has its place. But not in quests or story. And there’s limits to it too.

For instance, Pathfinder. I think a small timegate so people get adjusted to the land is fine. But the year long thing that’s been going on is not. (Not referring to dragonflight, as at least we have Dragonriding)

But then we have things like Shadowlands 9.1 and 9.2, where every story quest was gated by a week - it feels like it’s better to just let your subscription lapse and then pick up when the full story is available.

That said, not all timegating of the story was bad in Shadowlands, but most were. For instance, Sylvanas’s trial being gated made sense. It gave us time to experience the story and witness the end, before tying up loose ends.

I think a big problem is different people find different quests fun.

For instance, I loved those “Kill a named mob” WQs in BFA. Yet you guys moved away from them, claiming people found them boring.

Likewise, I like the quests that are something like, “Kill 10/12 x mobs.” The only exception is when it’s telling you to kill something like 30. That’s just too much.



Oddly, I think Google hates that article lol. Even googling “adventure mode Dragonflight wowhead” won’t show it.

Just get a bunch of articles about Threads of Fate.

EDIT: Ah, I see. Kaivax called it Adventure Mode but the article calls it Dragon Isles Adventuring. Thanks again for the link :slight_smile:

It honestly just looks like Threads of Fate without the main campaign skip?

I should ask, what constitutes as ‘quest content’? Do things like Protoform Synthesis, or more importantly Sanctum and Pocopoc upgrades, count as quest content because they have quests, resources and rewards inherently tied to them?

If this is true, I would say that I do fall into the category of skipping content altogether. Frankly, those examples were tedious to get to, due to resource gathering on top of time gates/“timed upgrades”. I’m only really getting into Zereth Mortis, and did Sepulcher, now at the literal end of the expansion. I still have not explored the downtime activities of any Covenant, nor have I invested any characters in the Night Fae or Kyrian.

For the latter, the problem came from having too many choices with specific aesthetics and abilities tied to them. I could go through them now with ease, but the Covenants were more or less irrelevant by the end of the expansion for me, and I have no reason to invest in them aside from more RNG, toys, mounts or transmog which haven’t piqued my interest nearly enough.

It is a case where I think less is more, and more thought towards making something compelling may be invested if the stories weren’t split like they were.

Then there’s also quests being locked behind factions, but I won’t get into that, as it seems to be less relevant in Dragonflight.

I am a roleplayer, but many of us feel we should get to max level as quickly as possible for multiple reasons. Certain class abilities that help us immerse ourselves, being able to roleplay in current content (and not die), and, for those of us that also raid, the ability to see every update to the lore that is locked behind max level and ilvls.

Edit: Also looking pretty, that’s a reason to get to max level.

I have less input on this one, but that’s my perspective.

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If its the launch of a expansion or new content I usually rush through on my main to get it all done quickly so I can get to the endgame content faster. Then later on I will level an alt and go through reading all the quests etc usually using the storyline addon

The quests I don’t like tend to be the ones that give you the same kinda quest over and over - “oh you have killed 10 bears, go kill 10 boars”. I prefer it if they alternate between different style of questing so it doesn’t get to repetitive on the same questline

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It’s very limited amount of content that is interesting to me and it’s primarily raiding and M+. Therefor lvling is just something I’m forced to do and will not do more than necessarily. Usually end up just buying boost for money since I hate to lvl that much. It’s not fun or hard, it’s just annoying content you’re simply forced to do to play the game. Whilst it wouldn’t be more fun or exciting if this was hard content it’s just simply not interesting. Usually I’m just spamming dungeons as they’re OK and not as boring as quests and then you usually can just spam that until max lvl fairly quick.

Best case scenario would be not having to touch any world content at all like reputations, world quests, daily quests or any other system. I just wanna raid and play M+.